Topic Last Modified: 2005-11-18

The Microsoft® Exchange Server Analyzer Tool reads the following registry entry to determine whether operating system debugging has been disabled:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AeDebug\Auto

If the Exchange Server Analyzer finds the value for Auto set to 0, a warning is displayed.

By default, an application debugger named Dr. Watson is installed with Microsoft Windows® 2000 Server and Windows Server™ 2003 operating systems. A debugger is a program that helps detect, locate, and correct errors in another program by enabling a programmer to step through the program, examine the data, and monitor conditions such as the values of variables.

The default options are set the first time Dr. Watson runs, which can be either when a program error occurs or when you start Dr. Watson yourself.

When an application error occurs, Windows searches for a program error handler. A program error handler deals with errors as they occur during the running of a program. If Windows does not find a program error handler, it verifies that the program is not currently being debugged and considers the error to be unhandled. Windows then processes unhandled errors by looking in the registry for a program error debugger.

The behavior of Windows depends on the settings of two registry values under: HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\AeDebug

The entries are named Debugger and Auto. The value for the Debugger entry specifies the command for the debugger that will be used to analyze program errors. If the value for the Debugger entry is found, Windows checks to see if the value for the Auto entry is set to 0 or 1:

When Windows is installed, the value for the Auto entry is set by default to 1 and the value for the Debugger entry specifies the command to start Dr. Watson (drwtsn32 -p %ld -e %ld -g). This means that when a program error occurs, Dr. Watson automatically diagnoses the error and logs the appropriate diagnostic information.

It is recommended that a program error debugger be used on Exchange Server computers as a best practice. If you have been using a program other than Dr. Watson as your default debugger, and you want to use Dr. Watson instead, go to the command prompt and type the command drwtsn32 -i to start Dr. Watson. Typing -i causes the required changes to be made to the registry.

To register Dr. Watson as the default debugger from the command prompt

  1. Open a Command Prompt window.

  2. Run the following command: drwtsn32 -i

  3. You will receive a message that says "Dr. Watson has been installed as the default application debugger." Click OK to acknowledge this message.

To register Dr. Watson as the default debugger from the user interface

  1. Click Start, click Run, type drwtsn32, and then press ENTER. The Dr. Watson for Windows user interface will appear.

  2. Select the Create Crash Dump File check box.

  3. Click OK to save the changes and close the Dr. Watson for Windows user interface.

For more information about Dr. Watson for Windows, see the Dr. Watson Help file by pressing F1 in the Dr. Watson user interface.

If you plan on using a program error debugger other than Dr. Watson, you can disable Dr. Watson using the procedure in the Microsoft Knowledge Base article 188296, "How to Disable Dr. Watson for Windows" (